Nollywood: Indigenous Culture, Interculturality, and the Transplantation of American Popular Culture onto Postcolonial Nigerian Film and Screen

Samba DIOP


Nigeria, the Giant of Africa, has three big tribes: Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa. It was a British colony which was amalgamated in 1914. The country became independent in 1962 and was right away bedeviled by military coups d’états and a bloody civil war (1967-1970). In 1999, the country experienced democratic dispensation. In the 1990s, the Nollywood nascent movie industry—following in the footpath of Hollywood and Bollywood—flourished. The movie industry grew thanks to four factors: Rapid urbanization; the hand-held video camera; the advent of satellite TV; and, the overseas migrations of Nigerians. Local languages are used in these films; however, English is the most prominent, along with Nigerian pidgin broken English. Many themes are treated in these films: tradition and customs, religion, witchcraft and sorcery, satire, urban and rural lives, wealth acquisition, consumerism, etc. I discuss the ways in which American popular culture is adopted in Nigeria and recreated on screen. Nigeria and USA share Federalism, the superlative mode, and gigantism (houses, cars, people, etc.), and many Nigerians attend American universities. In the final analysis, the arguments exposed in this paper highlight the multitude of ways in which Nigerians navigate the treacherous waters of modernity and globalization.

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